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Working 9 to 5 (with a Clean House)

When you dedicate more than 40 hours a week to your job, oftentimes other obligations fall to the wayside—like the upkeep of your home. Although balancing your time is a juggling act, these tips will help you stay ahead of the cleaning throughout the week.

Start small.  
When it comes to cleaning, small efforts can make all the difference. In fact, just simply straightening up before you to go bed—i.e. washing the dishes, folding and putting away laundry, and picking up after your family—will help you start the next morning off on the right foot. Because really, who doesn’t want to wake up to an organized living space?

Ensure that every minute counts.
With a busy schedule, time is of the essence. Since nobody enjoys coming home to a mess, there are a few things that can be done while you’re away at work. Before you leave, consider throwing in a load of laundry, and hanging it to dry once you return. Since most dishwashers have a heated dry feature they can run during the day. Another option is utilizing a robotic vacuum that can run on a set schedule.

Create, and stick to a schedule.  
Like anything else in life, a schedule can help immensely with cleaning. Creating and sticking to a schedule will enable you to chip away at the chores throughout the week, and not feel completely overwhelmed on the weekends. Consider breaking down the tasks into daily, weekly, monthly, and seasonal goals. Download this printable household cleaning schedule to keep your housework running like clockwork.

Make it a game.
If you have children, getting them involved can make a world of difference. To keep them interested, consider making the cleaning process a game. Simple things like hanging a chart on the refrigerator and offering an incentive once they complete a certain number of tasks will keep them entertained. Keeping it fun will help to teach them how to clean up after themselves, all the while making less work for you.

Practicing these tips will help keep your house in tip-top shape, regardless of your work schedule!

New Rent Control Law (1-1-2020)

KEY PROVISION

· If a landlord increases rent by more than this cap between March 15, 2019 and January 1, 2020, the rent on January 1, 2020 must be what the rent was on March 15, 2019, plus 5% plus CPI

· Authorizes landlords who increased rent by less than 5% plus CPI between March 15, 2019 and January 1, 2020 to increase the rent twice within 12 months of March 15, 2019, but not more than 5% plus CPI

· Beginning January 1, 2020, requires landlords to have just cause in order to evict tenants for tenants who have occupied a unit for at least 12 months, or up to 24 months when an adult tenant adds onto a lease (change in roommates)

· Landlords will still be able to evict for at-fault reasons, e.g., failure to pay rent, breach of lease, criminal activity, creating a nuisance, committing waste, refusal to execute a written extension or lease renewal, refusal to allow owner to enter

· Landlords can also evict for no-fault reasons, e.g., when the owner or their family plans to occupy the property, if they want to remove the property from the rental market, if they intend to substantially remodel the property, if they are ordered to vacate by a government agency or court

· Requires landlords to provide relocation assistance via one month’s rent or rent waiver for no-fault evictions within 15 calendar days of serving notice, and to notify tenants of the relocation assistance

· Does not amend Costa Hawkins, so local governments cannot apply a local rent cap to units not covered by Costa Hawkins (i.e., single family homes, multi-family units built after 1995)

· Does not contain vacancy decontrol provisions, so units can return to market rent prices when vacated

· Contains a 10-year sunset, so the requirements in the bill will expire in 2030

Your Home, Your Investment

When you purchase a home, don’t just think of it as a new place to live, think of it as an investment in your future. Real estate can be a solid, long-term investment for you and your family when you consider the pros and cons of your acquisition.

Market health

The real estate market has its ups and downs, but, generally, the health of a particular area is predictable by looking at trends over time. Do your research on the neighborhood before you buy.

Selling or renting

Buying a home with the intention to sell or even rent later can sometimes be a lucrative option for buyers. Research the property thoroughly, and make sure there aren’t any hidden factors or rules to negatively impact its value.

Little by little

There’s no need to completely renovate your home overnight. Investing your money back into the property little by little—through small changes over time—will keep you from going under financially.

Increasing value

Like the overall market, your home’s value will likely fluctuate over time. But there are plenty of simple ways to increase your home’s value such as adding environmentally friendly appliances and updating the floor plan.

The Facts about Fall Home Buying

People love autumn for many reasons. For buying homes? Not so much. But this doesn’t mean autumn doesn’t have its own distinct benefits if you’re in the market for a new home.

fall leaves

Crunch time has arrived.

For homeowners whose property is still on the market after summer, nervousness is likely settling in—their house still hasn’t sold, and the holidays are approaching—so they might be motivated to negotiate, sell, and settle before the holidays hit.

Less competition.

Looking for a home in peak buying seasons can be a war of attrition. Warm-weather home buyers are like shoppers who fight crowds to pay full price for the holiday’s must-have gift. By home shopping in autumn, you’ll be like the shopper who gets the same gift—without the competitive stress.

Better values abound.

A RealtyTrac study found that October is the best month of the year to find home-buying bargains, with a 2.6 percent discount on market value. And a recent Trulia study determined that fall is even more advantageous for first-time home buyers because of the availability of starter homes peak in autumn.

empty road

More personalized attention.

Your real estate agent likely has much more client activity during the spring and summer, so come fall, he or she will have more time to focus more on you and your home-buying needs.

4 Reasons to Buy a Home During the Fall

Let’s face it, the fall market gets a bad rap. The majority of buyers assume that they’ll be unable to find a house that fits their needs during the fall—hence the mad rush during the summer. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Here are four reasons why a buyer should disregard the myths, and make a fall real estate purchase.

Star of the show  The realty market clears out as soon as the weather turns crisp. The majority of warm-weathered buyers have already found a home, meaning a fall buyer will have less competition for the available houses on the market that spark their interest.

Exhaustion is real
Countless showings and no offers makes for one tired seller.  After months of no action, lingering summertime sellers are more than ready to make a deal. This puts the buyer in a prime position to negotiate a price that more than fits their budget.

Home for the holidaysNot only are sellers tired after an unsuccessful summer, the holidays are looming. The majority are aware that if they want to be settled in time for the holiday season, they have to close quickly. Buyers can use this time crunch to their advantage.

Season of deals
After settling, furnishing the house is next on a buyer’s list. Fortunately, December proves to be an ideal time to purchase large ticket items. According to Consumer Reports, appliances like refrigerators, stoves, washers, and dryers are at their very cheapest. Buyers can also snag great deals on furniture and home decor during an end-of-year sale.

If you’re serious about moving, there’s no reason to wait until the spring. With just a little patience and persistence, you can be in your dream home before the start of the New Year!

Creating an at Home Library

People who love books often use them as an escape. Books take you to faraway places and different time periods. Why not create an area devoted to burying yourself deep in a book? If you have too many books to count, consider creating an at home library.  

People who can benefit from an at home library  

Book Lovers 

This is an obvious point, but if you love books, maybe even just the smell of old books and the charm of having them on shelves, then an at home library is for you. 

Collectors  

If you have rare, collectible items you’ve always wanted to display, this is your chance to shine. Rare books, antiques, and everything in between would make a perfect aesthetic for a library space.  

People who like to cozy up  

Creating a personal library space can be used for more than just reading. If you love to get cozy with a blanket and chair, your naps and movies can have their own secluded space too.  

Where your home library should be located  

Adequate wall space  

The key to any successful at home library is storage. Installing shelving will require a room with clear, usable walls.  

Windows  

A nice touch to a library is having windows to let in natural light and views of the outdoors. However, if you’d prefer a darker, more secluded space, use a room with no windows or invest in black out curtains. 

Share with an office space  

Many don’t have an entire room to dedicate to an at home library, so if this is the case for you, consider sharing the space with your home office.  

What to include in your home library 

Seating  

Style and amount of seating is a personal preference. Whether you’re looking to accommodate a few friends or want a solo space, make sure the seating is comfortable. If it’s not comfortable, you won’t be able to relax, and you’ll end up relocating. Consider getting a recliner so you can really kick back. 

Lighting 

Setting the tone of the room is all in the lighting. Creating an inviting space will need accent and ambient lights. To create a warm, cozy atmosphere pick incandescent bulbs. LED lights are great, but they tend to have a colder feel to them. Use floor and table lamps directly over your seating area to have well-lit areas to read.  

Color Schemes 

If you’re looking for a traditional look, make the shelves a dark stain and have leather seating. For a modern feel, paint the shelving a white or off-white color and have furniture with your favorite accent color.  

Decorations 

Your style will determine how you decorate your library. Infuse your personality into the library with pictures, artwork, collections, and anything else you want to display. This is a space to call your own and you deserve to love what is around you in the room.  

Shelving  

The important part of storage will be shelving. There are different styles of shelving, including free–standing, floating, and built–in. Choose according to budget and style. If you’re indecisive about layout, go with free–standing shelving you’ll be able to rearrange. If you have your heart set on a layout and style, choose built–in.  

Aside from your personal aesthetic, at home libraries should all function to give you an at home oasis to escape and have time to pursue your interests. Get started with these tips—your dream library awaits! 

Ready to Make An Offer On A Home?

Your agent is there to guide you, but it’s still important to be a well-informed buyer. Here are some things you should keep in mind before putting an offer on a house.

Price of homes in the area

Know the current housing market by understanding the community around you.  Your agent should help you find out about other listings in the area to help gain some insight into what you should be offering

Home inspection

Even if you are prepared to set up a price based off the current market, if the inspection goes well or not so well, could be a potential factor to take into account and adjust your numbers accordingly.

Why are they selling?

Get to know the sellers reason for leaving the current home, do they have a family and just need more space? Do they want to be closer to schools? Maybe it has something to do with the home itself, and that is something you want to be aware of.

Understand ALL costs

People often times don’t realize the number of fees and costs that will arise as you go through the home buying process. You will have costs that are expected right out of the gate, and other fees that shouldn’t be forgotten that will pop up later on in the process. Be actively aware of your prospective future, especially when it comes to your finances.

Write an explanatory letter

Don’t just throw a number down, justify it. Give the seller a small explanation for putting down the number you did. With such a significant purchase in the works and competition from other buyers, an understanding of why you are willing to pay what you are, can help the seller gain more context and identify who the house will go to.

Prep to put down the perfect offer this season by utilizing these tips!

Vacation Home Buying 101

House hunting for a vacation home is no small feat—there are things to think about like location, price, and how much use you’ll get out of such a large investment. These tips are sure to put you on the right path so you can enjoy the process and kick up your feet in no time.

Stay in your price range.

Looking at different vacation properties and seeing how luxurious some can be (not to mention the priceless views) can often lead to unrealistic expectations. Establish a budget, and stick to it throughout this process. Don’t look at homes you can’t afford, as this will only lead to disappointment.

Be sure about the location.

Buying a home—particularly a vacation home—in an area you’ve never been to can have the opposite effect you intended. Make sure you’re familiar with the town before automatically buying a house under the assumption you’ll love the area. Try renting a home in the area a few times before jumping right in and making the investment.

Do your research.

If you plan on renting out a property, research the rules on how often you can rent, and be sure to comply with any state and county regulations (homeowner’s association, city boards, etc.). The same goes for researching an agent who knows the market well and can guide you in the right direction on all things vacation home buying-related.

Why A Home Inspection is Essential for Home Buyers

Like anything else in life, what you see when you look at a home is not always what you get. What might look like a charming Colonial on the outside can be riddled with problems on the inside—leaving you, the buyer, with a big mess.

Luckily, there’s something that can prevent this problem from plaguing you long after the “for sale” sign comes down: a home inspection.

Home inspections are a critical piece of the home buying puzzle because not only can they help you uncover potential problems, but can help you address them in a timely and efficient manner so you can get to settling in your dream home.

General inspection

Above all else, you should have a standard inspection conducted, which checks the overall structure of the home, including the roof, electric, plumbing, and insulation—among other areas. The inspector should be able to detect any necessary repairs you may want to have the seller address before the purchase.

Radon inspection

While you should make sure the home is equipped with a radon detector, it’s also a good idea to have an inspector look for any areas of the home that may have increased levels of this colorless and odorless (but harmful) gas.

Water/sewer inspection

If the home you’re looking at purchasing has a water or septic tank, have both evaluated. Problems with water or sewage can lead to extremely costly repairs, which can be easily avoided with a simple inspection.

Quick Tips:

  • Try and be present for your home inspection. This can give insight into the process and the opportunity to ask questions on the spot.
  • Be prepared for bad news. It’s important to be realistic and understand that problems, big and small, are likely.
  • Do ask questions of the inspector, including what repairs he or she recommend before purchase, and what repairs may be able to wait until later.